International Journal of
Sociology and Anthropology

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Sociol. Anthropol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-988X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJSA
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 320

Full Length Research Paper

Keeping religion out of a conflict: Learning from the Kenyan Church

Paul Atina Omayio
  • Paul Atina Omayio
  • Norwegian School of Theology in Oslo Norway.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 10 December 2014
  •  Accepted: 29 January 2015
  •  Published: 28 February 2015


Religion can be argued to be back into the public sphere of society casting doubt on the secularization theories. Though religion is said to be largely ambivalent, when involved, it complicates conflicts. In our modern multi-religious societies, keeping religion out of the conflict can be of benefit. Kenya´s involvement in the war against terror in Somalia was initially against the militant group, Al- Shabaab but the conflict got complicated when the group started attacking churches in Kenya in retaliation. Their target was to cause animosity between Christians and Muslims in Kenya and draw a religious angle into the conflict. However, the Christian victims of the attacks did not fall into the trap of the terrorists by choosing not to retaliate. They chose not to be part of the conflict.  Factors that helped the church achieve this tolerance include open channels of communication between the two religious communities, interreligious forums and communication, government intervention, religious leadership, faith based counseling and doctrine. This research article is based on a study done in Kenya on the response of the church to the Al Shabaab attacks.

Key words: Religious conflict, tolerance, terrorism, communication across borders, interreligious forums and communication, Al Shabaab, Kenyan church.